Toronto FC got its season back on track with a 2-0 victory over New York Red Bulls at BMO Field. After being snubbed by Roy Hodgson, designated player, Jermain Defoe, delivered a worthy man of the match performance to lead his team past their Eastern Conference rival.
In its eight game of the season, Toronto picked up its fourth win. The Canadian club moved into sixth place in the east, one spot behind New York. Ryan Nelsen’s side was brilliant all 90 minutes, but these three things stuck out the most from the victory.
No Michael Bradley, No Problem.
When Bradley left for United State Men’s National Team camp most people worried that Toronto would struggle without him. The midfield general is front and center of everything the Reds have done this season. He coordinates the defense, distributes the ball in the middle and makes the pass the leads to goal scoring opportunities.
Jonathan Osorio and Jeremy Hall were tipped to replace Bradley, but it was English fullback Bradley Orr who got the nodded next to Kyle Bekker. The 31-year-old delivered one of his best performances since he made the move to Major League Soccer.
His natural defensive instincts were on display as he constantly tracked back to help the defense, but he also showed what he was capable of on offense. The Everton academy product dissected New York’s defense to find a streaking Defoe, who buried the home team’s first goal of the night.
Orr’s inclusion in the starting lineup also benefited Bekker. The young Canadian was more active offensively. He played multiple long balls that nearly resulted in goals and he fired four shots at goal.
The defense is as good as any defense in the league.
Mike Petke brought an arsenal of offensive weapons to Canada, but Nelsen’s defense made sure they misfired. Although the leading goalscorer, Bradley Wright-Phillips, unbelievably fired wide of an open goal, New York didn’t create too many chances. Petke’s forward only fired one shot on target.
Joe Bendik was well protected by Steven Caldwell and Nick Hagglund, and the outside backs were excellent against Johnny Steele and Lloyd Sam. Thierry Henry had a tough time getting past Caldwell. The former Scotland International didn’t allow the French legend to get a clear shot at goal.
Toronto also looked good while defending New York’s seven corner kicks. Despite being without lethal set-piece goalscorer, Tim Cahill, New York had Armando and Jamison Olave inside the box. The Reds beat their opponents to the ball on all seven occasion.
Defoe is really good, and Nelsen has options up top
We all know Defoe is a good forward, but how good is the question. The English legend showed Hodgson what he’ll be missing in Brazil with an emphatic first half goal. The striker ran onto a through ball, took a touch and drove a rocket into the back of the net.
Defoe was a nightmare for New York’s center backs for 90 minutes. He didn’t stop running, pulled off Gilberto to create space and he held the ball up brilliantly.
In his debut, former Swansea City forward Luke Moore got his name on the score sheet. Moore came in for the misfiring Gilberto and was handed a goal late in the game. His addition gives Nelsen three potential starters who can play alongside Defoe.